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Portal Blog

It’s Hard to be Canadian



Traditionally, it’s been hard to be a Canadian literary magazine. Spill over from the American market has caused Canadian literary magazines to exist in their shadow. However, according to statistics on magazine trends published by Magazines Canada American spill over is on a long-term decline. The top two American magazines in Canada are National Geographic and People; neither of these magazines are a direct threat to Canadian literary magazines.

There are 1311 consumer magazine titles in Canada as of 2013. Average readership for print and digital remains stable, as does reader interest. The average Canadian literary magazine has five readers per issue, and trends are showing that if given the choice, Canadians will read Canadian content over American content. This is especially true in Quebec and other French-speaking parts of Canada. Currently, the largest revenues generated from literary magazines are in Ontario, according to data from omdc.on.ca. The lowest revenue from literary magazines is in the maritime provinces, followed by British Columbia and the territories, which are grouped in the same category. Hope for literary magazines may rest with youth; magazine readers tend to be younger. An estimated 60% of magazine readers are millennials, according to information gathered by Vividata, a research company specializing in magazine and newspaper statistics.

So, with all this positive data, why is ad revenue declining? Advertisers overwhelmingly choose to advertise on online platforms such as Facebook and Google over traditional print media. From 2013 – 2015, ad revenue in Canadian magazines saw a 32.6% decrease. Many Canadian literary magazines are now sustained by government grants, donations, and subscriptions from their readership, newsstand sales, or wealthy patrons.

It’s hard to be a Canadian literary magazine, but not just because we’re Canadian. It’s hard to be a magazine anywhere in the world right now, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon unless millennials embrace them and transform them.

-Cole Schisler, Print Publicity and Feature Writer.

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